How Long Does Raw Chicken Last in the Fridge?

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How long does raw chicken last in the fridge? We know the answer!

We’re all food fanatics around here. That means we love recipes, how-to guides for cooking and kitchen product reviews.

But you know what else? We’re food-safety fanatics too.

Ain’t nobody got time for food poisoning.

Here’s what you need to know about raw chicken.

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How Long Does Raw Chicken Last in the Fridge?

Federal guidelines from the USDA state that raw chicken lasts 1-2 days in the fridge. The refrigerator’s temperature should be 40 degrees F.

Keep in mind that even if the sell-by date hasn’t arrived yet, your raw chicken can’t stay in the fridge longer than a couple days. The refrigerated shelves at grocery stores are colder than your fridge at home.

So, pay attention to the date you bought the chicken. If you can’t cook it within two days, freeze it.

If you freeze your chicken within two days of purchasing it, you don’t need to worry about the date on the package anymore.

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How to Store Raw Chicken

It’s fine to refrigerate chicken in its unopened package from the store. Otherwise, store the raw chicken wrapped in plastic and sitting in a plate to prevent the raw juice from leaking onto other food. You also could keep the chicken in a sealed container.

If you want to freeze raw chicken, do it immediately after purchasing, or after it’s been in the fridge for up to two days. You can leave the chicken in the store packaging, but it helps to place the package in a freezer bag or wrap it in foil, to prevent freezer burn.

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For best quality, freeze a whole chicken for up to a year, or chicken parts for up to nine months. Thaw frozen chicken in the refrigerator, until it no longer has frost and is squishy to the touch.

How Long Can You Keep Raw Chicken Out of the Refrigerator?

Raw chicken can’t stay out of the refrigerator for longer than two hours. If it’s past two hours, toss it.

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How to Tell if Chicken is Bad

  1. Mold: If you see anything fuzzy growing on the chicken, toss out that poultry!
  2. Color: If the raw chicken looks grey, throw it away. The chicken flesh should be pink.
  3. Odor: Do the sniff test. If the chicken smells bad or like ammonia, it needs to be tossed out.
  4. Feel: Feel the chicken to check if it’s slimy. If it is, rinse it and check again. If it’s still slimy, toss it.
  5. Taste: If, despite passing the previous tests, you cook the chicken and it has a strange, bad taste, don’t even swallow it. Spit it out and throw the rest away!
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